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The moral bankruptcy of Penn State's 'love for the game'

Abusive BehaviorCollege SportsFootballThe Pennsylvania State UniversityBankruptcyPennsylvania Statue University Sexual Abuse Scandal (2012)

What we knew before former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigation into the coverup of child sexual abuse by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was bad enough, but as I listened to and then read Mr. Freeh's 200-page report, I was once again overcome with rage ("Report faults PSU leaders in abuse," July 13).

We idolize the men and women who play various forms of "catch" for a living. Across the nation and around the globe, billions of dollars are made and spent on teams, fields, stadiums, naming rights and their associated amenities.

Sports fulfill a human need and provide a healthy form of distraction. They are mostly played and administered in a manner that causes no harm other than the occasional physical injuries to athletes. We even expect occasional lapses of judgment.

But not this.

The leadership at Penn State was so corrupt, so detached from humanity that they were willing to sacrifice the emotional lives of children. For the fortunes generated by fans' love of the football program, the men at the top of the university hierarchy were willing to indulge a level of moral bankruptcy that is almost beyond measure.

I still cannot wrap my mind around what has happened at State College. The president of the university, a vice president, the athletic director and the idolized football coach conspired to create an atmosphere of secrecy and intimidation that enabled, even empowered, a sexual predator to satisfy his desires.

Children were raped, their bodies and minds violated. Their lives and their families' lives forever altered. As a psychotherapist, I am inclined to try to analyze and understand the mind of this predator. But as a father I am unsettled, baffled and battling a rage of seemingly fathomless depth.

Arthur J. Rosenbaum, Owings Mills

The writer is a clinical psychotherapist on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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